Unanimous Vote to Defend Contract
It’s been a number of weeks since Bradford College UCU had one of its best attended AGMs at which members voted unanimously in favour of balloting for strike action to defend their contract. Throughout this academic year, UCU members have been steadfast in their determination to defend their contract in the face of the threat from management of possible redundancies if we do not roll over and sign away our holidays and current protection on contact time.
So where are we now?
Following the declaration of an Industrial Dispute, UCU negotiators followed the College’s Disputes Procedure and took our case to a panel composed of the Principal and Ian McAleese and Andrew Chang , two members of the Corporation. The UCU case was strongly put by Julie Kelley, Regional Official: UCU members had clearly signalled their support for the present contract. The proposed contract will have a detrimental effect on the quality of education and the health of staff. Will result in the redundancies of hourly-paid staff. UCU had offered to discuss ways to enable the college to use the existing contract to achieve the “flexibility” they require. UCU’s perception of negotiations had been that the college was stringing us along with a plan to introduce the new contract in September. The college had at that point refused to give a guarantee that this would not happen. UCU believed there was no option but to declare a dispute.
The Panel’s decision. Both sides should return to the negotiating table. Each side should be clear and explicit about the contentious issues and the questions that needed addressing. A recommendation that an independent facilitator be appointed.
Following this outcome, UCU negotiators were adamant that the threat of the introduction of a new contract had to be explicitly removed. College agreed this. Andy Welsh wrote to UCU stating, “We will not seek to implement a forced contractual change this September.” This is a significant move and comes as a result of the solid vote by members to declare an industrial dispute. Having said this, members need to know that the fight to defend our contract is very far from over. There has been no serious move by the college from its original position. It is still seeking a massive worsening of our conditions.
ATTEND THE NEXT BRANCH MEETING. DETAILS BELOW
What the college still want for us.
Fewer holidays, more contact time (880) and an increased working week. The result: one of the worst colleges to work for in the country. The college has not made any significant move on any of these.
UCU believes management’s proposals to smash our contract:
Are not justified by any objective criteria about staff efficiency
Are aimed purely at driving up staff productivity, driving down labour costs, and increasing the college surplus
Will result in the loss of work for hourly – paid staff
Threaten to compromise academic standards
Will further increase workloads
Will increase staff stress and illness and undermine the notion of a “healthy college”
Despite the need, we are told, for us to work harder i.e. “more for less”, the college is financially healthy enough to plough ahead with its new build. We are being made to pay for a new building! UCU has consistently questioned the need for, and the timing of, this initiative.
Bradford College UCU members need to continue to stand together as we have demonstrated we can. A united branch, with members clearly expressing their opposition to a proposed contract that will make Bradford College’s one of the worst to work in, is how we will defend our contract.
Resist the attack and build the branch. Every member should try and sign up a colleague. People can join on line at. http://www.ucu.org.uk
Or – fill in the form overleaf.
Classes Closed Branch meeting 14th June, C28, Law Lecture Theatre, Lister Building from 11.30 am.
Give this newsletter to a non-member, explain the threat, resist the attack and build the branch. Read Bradford College UCU’s blog @